When it comes to collectability, it doesn't get much bigger than the Hemi Cuda convertible and L88 Corvette. It attracts a lot of attention when one of these super star cars comes to auction, but when both are in the lineup, it's definitely front-page news. This summer Mecum Auctions will be revving up the excitement at their inaugural Seattle auction by offering both a 1971 Cuda drop top and a 1967 L88 coupe. Big block/big horsepower always causes quite a stir among car enthusiasts, but considering the rarity of these cars, without a doubt, spectators and potential buyers will be out in force when these classics cross the auction stage.
Hemi Cuda Convertible
On the surface, the 1971 Hemi Cuda convertible up for auction in Seattle doesn't stand out among other muscle cars from the era. Unlike the neon-colored cars that were popular with Chrysler at the time, this Cuda, dressed in bright blue paint, black top, and matching color steel wheels, with dog dish hub caps, doesn't have a lot of bling. However, what it lacks in pizzazz, it more than makes up for in authenticity and desirable equipment. Fully restored to look as though it just rolled off the assembly line, this convertible Cuda has all the right stuff - 426 Hemi, dual quad, and 4-speed transmission, packaged in a convertible body style. In 1971, only 11 buyers opted to stuff a Hemi in a Cuda convertible, making this one of the very few factory-built cars of this type. In addition, this car is the only numbers matching 4-speed known to exist. Considering what this Cuda has going for it -- the allure of a Hemi, originality, rarity, and extensive documentation -- it may be one of the most valuable MOPAR muscle cars of all time.
In 1966, GM began installing the legendary 427 engine in Corvettes. The following year, the ultimate-tuned 427 engine was first offered, along with handling upgrades in the L88 option package. Although a street-legal car, GM intended the L88 to be a limited-production Corvette to be primarily driven on the track. The availability of this car was not widely known at the time, so only 20 of the Bow Tie faithful, who had inside information, purchased this top-dog Corvette.
One of these Vettes, a 1967 Marina Blue coupe, with a black stinger and factory-installed side pipes, will cross Mecum's auction block in Seattle. This car is well-known within the Corvette community, and has the coveted Bloomington Gold Certification to document its pedigree. When one of these super Sting Rays comes on the market, it always attracts big money.
Hemi Cuda Versus L88 Corvette at Mecum Seattle
Because of the desirability of these cars, the selling price of each of these cars should easily surpass $1 million. Last year, a 1971 Hemi Cuda convertible, with an automatic transmission, sold for $1.2 million, and in 2007, despite not having matching numbers, another 4-speed sold for $2 million.
The 1967 L88 Corvette is scheduled to cross the auction block shortly after the Cuda. These race-bred cars have sold for as much as $3.5 million, and there's no reason to believe this Vette will be valued less. On paper, the Sting Ray has the edge over the Cuda, but MOPAR fans in the Emerald City may find this Cuda too tempting to resist, driving its price to a whole new level.
The 1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible or the 1967 L88 Corvette -- which do you think will come out on top when the final hammer drops?
Note: Referenced sales prices do not include commissions.